There's a very damaging transformation in our country's narrative today. It's the quickness with which we can shut off another person's point of view by labeling them. For instance, if I think reasonable government regulations are a good thing, I can be labeled a moon bat liberal who wants to install communism tomorrow. Or if I object to unnecessary regulations I can be labeled a heartless conservative who doesn't care about the environment.
By confusing simple-mindedness for clarity, we can automatically dismiss the totality of another person's ideas by hearing one opinion we disagree with. Since when did human beings become so simple that we can hear one utterance and know exactly how they feel about everything?
We can't. And this is not critical thinking. It's a visceral reaction that emerges from believing that an opposing opinion automatically disqualifies our own--makes us wrong. It doesn't.
Dialoguing with conflicting ideas is what brings about better solutions. But we have this crazy winner-take-all attitude and just know that everything will be better when our side is in power. Well, I don't know about you, but I don't think it's working very well.
Case in point. Now the Dems are out, and the GOP is in. Eventually, this will turn around, and the opposite will be true. Neither party can hold onto power forever. So, we're caught in this merry go round country with so much uncertainty we can cut it with a knife.
We've killed the social dialectic. In classical philosophy, a dialectic is a form of reaching a consensus based on dialogue composed of arguments and counter-arguments. One side is advocating propositions (theses) and the other side is advocating counter-propositions (antitheses). The outcome of such a dialectic at best would be a synthesis or a combination of the opposing propositions.
In simpler terms, thesis, antithesis, synthesis equals better solutions. This is generally how social systems progress in civil society. But in this political environment, we never get to synthesis because we're busy shouting our certainties at their certainties. And to make it worse we disqualify the other's propositions before they even present them because they are (fill in the blank).
The first step might be to just listen to the other's proposition with the intention of understanding and not disqualifying. We can always disqualify later. But first, let's understand each other. This would be an enormous improvement.
You see, I think this president is doing us a vital service. He's exposing in deep and broad relief, the fault lines in our country. He didn't create them. He's just shining a light into them so we can see who fell in and has been hiding there all along.
This exposure to the real ugliness that resides among us is a gift and a warning. It's a gift that allows us to know our societal faults. It's a warning that highlights the dangers of a political polarized national narrative.
The good news is we can fix it. If we're going to do that and improve everyone's quality of life, we need to take some advice from Pogo. "We've met the enemy, and it's us."
Robert De Filippis